Philippines end 40-year winless drought
SEVILLA (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - It took more than 40 years for the Philippines, but they finally won a game at FIBA's flagship event in using their final chance at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup and setting themselves up to be an inspiration for years to come back home.
Jim Alapag scored 18 points and Andray Blatche totalled 18 points and 14 rebounds as Gilas got the better of Senegal 81-79 after overtime for their first win in Sevilla's Group B. It was also their first victory at the World Championship since beating Australia 101-100 on 8 July 1974.
"It's incredible, especially with the way this tournament has gone. I don't know if anybody really gave us a chance to compete against some of the top 10-15 teams in the world. But our country has waited so long to be on this stage," said Alapag.
"Hopefully we won’t wait another 40 years."
This was an opportunity to really show the world that we love the game so much and we’re competing. - Alapag
Alapag will turn 37 years old in December and likely has played his last World Cup game.
"I was trying to not get too emotional before the game. For this to be on the world stage we want to be the example, the inspiration to all those kids back in the Philippines and to let them know that here we are on the world stage and hopefully this is just the start."
Coach Chot Reyes tugged at his team's emotions before the game.
"In my pre-game, I just said that let's play a game that will make people remember us for the rest of our lives. Nobody knows how long we'll be here. but in the end of whatever we're doing, what we leave behind is the pride that our children will feel when they speak our names. And I told the players to think of their kids," said Reyes.
The coach had seen his players lose their previous four games in Sevilla by a total of 23 points.
"Wow, what could have been if not for our inexperience. Then we would be going to Madrid (Round of 16) right now," said Reyes.
"We played the game of our lives."